Structure and mechanical property variation of low density and high density polyethylene films on soil burial

Author(s): C.T.Vijayakumar, T.Periadurai, K.Sakthimanikandan, N.Rajeevkumar, SarasvathyVijayakumar, Chitra Rajagopal

Most of the packaging applications need easy and cheap availability of material, inertness towards outside factors like heat, chemicals, radiation and microorganisms. Polyolefins are the right choice and have attracted much attention of environmentalists in recent years mainly due to their extensive in the packaging industry. Even though several methods are adopted to reduce the usage and recycle the used material the final fate of these materials is to get incinerated or dumped in land or sea.With the view to understand the structural changes that are taking place during soil burial or composting of polyolefin films, in the present investigation, both low density and high density polyethylene filmswere buried in clay soil, typical for Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu State, India. The samples were retrieved at different intervals of time and were analyzed for the structural variation using by FTIR and the mechanical property loss was followed by studying the tensile properties using anUniversal Testingmachine. The results clearly indicate that after an induction period of 200 days, both LDPE and HDPE film sample show the formation of carbonyl groups and then the amount of carbonyl group gradually increases. The elongation at break value decreases atmuch faster rate for LDPE when compared to HDPE.

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